Out comes a Down’s syndrome boy, face creased with smiles. He gives us all a thumbs-up. Nothing to worry about, fellahs, he seems to say.
The Catholic Church is nowhere better represented than here, at this moment. The boundaries between physical and spiritual are collapsed, and the Kingdom breaks out: the disabled mingle with the able-bodied, the nations mix, and we tap into God’s goodness by physical acts which we are confident are not meaningless. Our literal age has little time for this stuff, which shrivels under the cold glare of rationalism. But the sacramental imagination is bigger, deeper and wider.
All I have done is move down a pew or two, but I am much closer to what this is all about. Our unconscious grasps what our eyes cannot. Who are they, in the chariots in front of us now? Our fears—deformation, paralysis, fragility—but also our glory: the Spirit of God, assuring us of human empathy and supernatural transcendence. Healing is collective; we are in need of others. The fellow in the middle with the purple fingers could go at any time, but what better way than like this, carried by gentle young helpers, into the arms of God?